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Wednesday, January 2, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 30 DEC 2007 (VIS) - Today, Feast of the Holy Family, the Pope appeared at the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus.

Addressing the thousands of faithful gathered below his window, the Holy Father explained how today "we celebrate the mystery of a God Who chose to be born of a woman, the Blessed Virgin, and to enter this world in the same way as all mankind. Thus He sanctified the family, filling it with divine grace and fully revealing its vocation and its mission".

Benedict XVI recalled a phrase much repeated by John Paul II - "the good of the individual and of society is closely connected to the 'good health' of the family" - indicating that "for this reason the Church is committed to defending and promoting the holiness and the natural dignity of the married state and its superlative value".

He then went on to address participants in a Meeting of Families being held today in Madrid, Spain, inviting Christian families "to experience the loving presence of the Lord in their lives" and encouraging them, "by drawing inspiration from Christ's love for mankind, to bear witness before the world of the beauty of human love, of marriage and of the family".

The family, "founded on the indissoluble union between a man and a woman, is the privileged place in which human life is welcomed and protected, from its beginning to its natural end. For this reason parents have the fundamental right and obligation to educate their children in faith and in the values that lend dignity to human existence.

"It is worth working for the family and for marriage", the Pope added, "because it is worth working for humankind, the most precious beings created by God". In this context, he called upon children "to love and pray for their fathers and siblings" and upon young people, "stimulated by their parents' love, generously to pursue their own matrimonial, priestly or religious vocation". To the elderly and the sick he expressed the hope "that they may find the assistance and understanding they need" and, finally, to married couples he said: "may you always rely on the grace of God, that your love may become ever more fruitful and faithful".

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